Reflections on fathers, patriarchs, parents, and men in our lives who shape and change us. For Father’s Day weekend.

This Father’s Day I want to recognize the kind, patient, sensitive, and caring men who serve as father figures and role models in our children’s lives. They are uncles, teachers, caregivers, cooks, drivers, security guards, and coaches. They are there every day in every way. They gently guide our children through their days, offering advice and wisdom – giving our children a model of what and how they can grow up to be … — Maggie Doyne, BlinkNow

It’s the most profound gift and the most daunting challenge. — Matt Bomer

Open your hands if you want to be held. — Rumi

It is not flesh and blood, but the heart which makes us fathers … — Johann Friedrich Von Schiller

I’d say, Buckle up!… It’s going to be a journey where half the time, you don’t know what you’re doing or what to expect, or how you’re going to bear the pressures, or as Blake put it, learn to endure the beams of love.  I would say, it’s one day at a time … It’s Doctorow saying …[it]  is like driving at night with the headlights on where you can only see a little ways in front of you, but you can make the whole journey that way. — Annie Lamott

Songs about fathers and parenthood:

Questions to consider:

  • If your image of God comes from a parent, what does that experience of love offer as your relationship with God? Stern and disciplinarian, intimate and affectionate, constant and close, faraway and not present, instructive and patient, quick and restless … how do you know God as met through your connection to your primary relationships: parents or caregivers in your earliest years?
  • Does calling God “the Father” help you to connect to Holy Love or is it a barrier? If so, why? What language would help connect you to Godself?
  • For whom have you been a role model or mentor, an influencer and changemaker?
  • Who has been a father figure or role model in your life?
The Longing and the Love (excerpt) — Brian Lundin
We long for the perfect protection of a father,
for strong arms that encircle us,
hold us tight to a broad chest, a beating heart.
Arms that toss us into the air,
screaming with laughter and a little fear,
even though we know those arms will always catch us.From the moment we gasp our first breath of air,
we long for the perfect father.
We long for a father who sacrifices,
who lays down his time to play games,
read our favorite book one more time,
or take a long walk and listen.
Who reaches into his pocket and pulls out a dollar for ice cream.
Who reaches deeper to provide a good home, good food, and good gifts.
We long for a father who always protects,
always cheers, and always sacrifices.Some of us are blessed to find
bits and pieces of these longings met in human form,
Like sun through stained glass—a brilliant picture,
illuminated by our Father who satisfies these longings.We thank God for fathers who protect,
who encourage with strong words, and strong convictions,
fathers willing to sacrifice, striving to love.But some of us are grieving.
Grieving the loss of a good father, or the lack of one.
Some never knew their father’s arms,
and some bear scars, on skin and soul,
dealt from a father’s swinging arms.
At some point, all of us are left longing.
Lacking.No human father can perfectly satisfy.
Look up and know your Father in Heaven gave you these longings,
and only He can … fulfill them …We celebrate our fathers on earth, and our Father in heaven.
We give thanks for the longing, and give thanks for the love.
Father’s Day Prayer — Maren Tirabassi
God, I’m praying for fathers –
fathers, up at night with newborns,
fathers, bent under college debt,
fathers who are good with one age of child
and haven’t a clue with another.
I’m praying for fathers balancing self
and home and work and parenting,
especially when no one seems to notice.
I’m praying for fathers of adolescents,
and for those who are adolescents themselves,
as well as many who prop up their elbows w
hen their hands slip on the gift of accountability.
I’m praying for grandfathers and transfathers.
godfathers and grieving fathers,
foster fathers and adopting fathers,
solo fathers and step-fathers,
fathers-in-law and fathers-in-neighbor,
more grandfathers – tiptoeing around divorce,
and also teachers, pastors, coaches, counselors
who mix a tiny bit of what they know
from fathering into relationships
with dozens of children, and l
earn the rhythm to step back.
I’m praying for those living
with their mistakes as fathers—
small thoughtlessnesses that call for self-forgiveness,
or deep damage needing repentance, transformation.
I’m praying for those who want to be fathers,
and those who have wanted, but it never happened.
I’m praying for those who miss
their fathers because of death or distance,
deep difference or disappearance,
and I’m praying those who miss their children
because of death or distance,
deep difference or disappearance.
Be a parent to them, O God,
on this day and all the days of the year.
I am praying for those who have been
so violated by men in relationship to them,
that the very name “father” is a wound.
Heal them with time and anger,
memory, love and support.
As we approach this civic day
with its tangle of knotted emotions,
draw out for each of us from
your fathoms of tenderness, care, and strength,
for our most intimate needs – named here,
barely whispered to ourselves, or
still hidden in the cave-rooms of our souls.
Amen.

For a New Father (excerpt)— John O’Donohue
As the shimmer of dawn transforms the night
Into a blush of color futured with delight,
The eyes of your … child awaken in you
A brightness that surprises your life …
… You feel the full force of a father’s desire
To protect and shelter.
… May your heart rest in the grace of the gift
And you sense how you have been called
Inside the dream of this new destiny.
May you be gentle and loving, clear and sure.
May you trust in the unseen providence
That has chosen you all to be a family.
May you stand sure on your ground
And know that every grace you need
Will unfold before you
Like all the mornings of your life.

Extraordinariness of Daily Acts: Just Showing Up
 
My father didn’t tell me how to live. He lived and let me watch him do it. — Clarence Budington Kelland
 
Dads are most ordinary men turned by love into heroes, adventurers, story-tellers … and singers of song. — Pam Brown
 
A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society. — Billy Graham
 
I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by the little scraps of wisdom. — Umberto Eco
 
When you’re young, you think your dad is Superman. Then you grow up, and you realize he’s just a regular guy who wears a cape. — Dave Attell
 
Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance. — Ruth Renkel

The biggest lesson for my kids is that they know they are the most important things I have. No matter what is going on in my life, your kids are forever. — Lin Manuel Miranda

I talk and talk and talk, and I haven’t taught people in 50 years what my father taught by example in one week. — Maria Cuomo Cole

I remember a very important lesson that my father gave me when I was twelve or thirteen. He said, ‘You know, today I welded a perfect seam and I signed my name to it.’ And I said, ‘But, Daddy, no one’s going to see it!’ And he said, ‘Yeah, but I know it’s there.’  — Toni Morrison

A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society. — Billy Graham

He adopted a role called being a father so that his child would have something mythical and infinitely important: a protector. — Tom Wolfe

On Loving Our Children

Baby, I paint the sky blue
My greatest creation was you.
— Jay-Z
In my career, there’s many things I’ve won and many things I’ve achieved, but for me, my greatest achievement is my children and my family. — David Beckham

When my father didn’t have my hand, he had my back. — Linda Poindexter

Prayer Maya Angelou

Father, Mother, God,
Thank you for your presence during the hard and mean days.
For then we have you to lean upon.
Thank you for your presence during the bright and sunny days,
for then we can share that which we have with those who have less.
And thank you for your presence during the Holy Days, for then we are able
to celebrate you and our families and our friends.
For those who have no voice, we ask you to speak.
For those who feel unworthy, we ask you to pour your love out in waterfalls of tenderness.
For those who live in pain, we ask you to bathe them in the river of your healing.
For those who are lonely, we ask you to keep them company.
For those who are depressed, we ask you to shower upon them the light of hope.
Dear Creator, You, the borderless sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the world that which we need most—Peace.

All Kinds of Fathers: Honoring the Men in Our Lives

There are many different types of Dads. Father figures come in all shapes and sizes, and being a parent can sometimes lie with a less-traditional role-model. — MensLineAustralia

It is not flesh and blood, but the heart which makes us fathers and sons. — Johann Friedrich Von Schiller

But a role model in the flesh provides more than inspiration; his or her very existence is confirmation of possibilities one may have every reason to doubt, saying, yes, someone like me can do this. — Sonia Sotomayor

You can honor the day by acknowledging someone who made a difference in your life … — James Van Praagh

Role models set goals for you and try to make you as good as they are. Role models are important. — Kasey Zacharias 

My role model didn’t tell me, he showed me. — Unattributed

By being a living role model of what you want to receive from others, you create more of what you want in your life. — Eric Allenbaugh

Be the flame of fate, that torch of truth to guide our young people toward a better future for themselves and for this country. — Michelle Obama 

We tend to become like those we admire. — Thomas Monson

Children need role models rather than critics. — Joseph Joubert

A role model can teach you to love and respect yourself. — Tionne Watkins

To change bad habits we must study the habits of successful role models. — Jack Canfield 

As a leader, it’s a major responsibility on your shoulders to practice the behavior you want others to follow. — Himanshu Bhatia

God / Holy Love as Parent & Creator

There is something gratuitous about creation, an unnecessary abundance of beauty, and through its blossoms and pleasures we can revel in the sheer largesse of the Father. ― Michael Reeves

[About Prodigal Son parable] … he’s a parent who loves both his children more than anyone can measure. And that’s when counting breaks down. When you love so much there is no scale adequate to calculate your devotion. The elder son, he counts … But the … father – doesn’t. Can’t. Love like this, you see, cannot be measured, tracked, or managed. … God’s immeasurable love. Period. — David Lose

Right from the moment of our birth, we are under the care and kindness of our parents, and then later on in our life when we are oppressed by sickness and become old, we are again dependent on the kindness of others. Since at the beginning and end of our lives we are so dependent on other’s kindness, how can it be in the middle that we would neglect kindness towards others? — Dalai Lama

The child asks of the Father whom he knows. Thus, the essence of Christian prayer is not general adoration, but definite, concrete petition. The right way to approach God is to stretch out our hands and ask of One who we know has the heart of a Father. ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God attaches no strings to His love. None. His love for us does not depend on our loveliness. It goes one way. As far as our sin may extend, the grace of our Father extends further. ― Tullian Tchividjian

Most of us were taught that God would love us if and when we change. In fact, God loves you so that you can change. What empowers change, what makes you desirous of change is the experience of love. It is that inherent experience of love that becomes the engine of change. ― Richard Rohr

I am always struck when I reread the parable of the merciful Father. … The Father, with patience, love, hope and mercy, had never for a second stopped thinking about [his wayward son], and as soon as he sees him still far off, he runs out to meet him and embraces him with tenderness, the tenderness of God, without a word of reproach. … God is always waiting for us, He never grows tired. Jesus shows us this merciful patience of God so that we can regain confidence and hope — always!— Pope Francis

Committing myself to the task of becoming fully human is saving my life now… to become fully human is something extra, a conscious choice that not everyone makes. Based on my limited wisdom and experience, there is more than one way to do this. If I were a Buddhist, I might do it by taking the bodhisattva vow, and if I were a Jew, I might do it by following Torah. Because I am a Christian, I do it by imitating Christ, although i will be the first to admit that I want to stop about a day short of following him all the way. In Luke’s gospel, there comes a point when he turns around and says to the large crowd of those trailing after him, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple” (14:26). Make of that what you will, but I think it was his way of telling them to go home. He did not need people to go to Jerusalem to die with him. He needed people to go back where they came from and live the kinds of lives that he had risked his own life to show them: lives of resisting the powers of death, of standing up for the little and the least, of turning cheeks and washing feet, of praying for enemies and loving the unlovable. ― Barbara Brown Taylor

About the Prodigal Father (excerpt) —Nadia Bolz-Weber (full article: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/nadiabolzweber/2016/03/junk-food-djs-and-brothers-a-sermon-on-how-all-that-is-the-fathers-is-ours/)

… So Jesus told them this parable of 2 sons.
      The first son took his inheritance and left town and squandered everything he’d been given. Like a child who if given the freedom to choose for themselves what they eat, they gleefully gorge themselves on Fruit Loops and Snickers for breakfast and Mountain Dew and Funions for lunch and a dinner of only double stuff Oreos and by the next night they are begging for broccoli.   The younger son had been belligerently independent and self-focused – so sure that if he got everything he wanted that he would be happy but instead he was miserable.
      And so returning home with his head hung low he glances up and sees the Father running to him – before the younger son could even get his totally rehearsed speech out of his mouth the father throws his arms around him and covers him in love. What was lost is found, what was dead is alive says the Father. None of which are moral categories.
     These things call for not condemnation, but a party! And so the father hires a DJ and an amazing caterer and there is dancing and song and drink and joy.
     The younger son may have squandered his freedom in self-indulgent excess. But the older son was just as wasteful.
      The older son squandered his freedom by not thinking he had any. He didn’t believe that all that was the Father’s was his. He squandered the gifts of the Father by living a life of mirthless duty. And coming home from the field he hears the party underway and resents such a lavish show of love thinking it a limited resource. He was being a complete ass and yet again, the Father comes to him reminding him of the great love he has for his child.
      The father sacrifices his dignity twice by running into the street to embrace his children – not as a reward for the children being good but because that is simply the Father’s nature. We are children of a God who does things like that. So in response to the incredulous religious people of his day who were trying desperately to uphold their reward and punishment program Jesus told them a parable about a seemingly bad son and a seemingly good son and how not one thing about their behavior had any effect whatsoever on the heart of their father. All the love that the father had was theirs no matter what. Everything the father had was theirs. So the tragic thing about this story isn’t that one was selfish and one was resentful, the tragic thing is that neither of them trusted the love of the Father. And when that love is not trusted as being sufficient – we replace it with a punishment and reward system.
     …. If you have been told that God is some kind of punishing, capricious, angry bastard with a killer surveillance system who is basically always disappointed with you for being a human being then you have been lied to. The church has failed you and I am so sorry.   
      So if you hear nothing else hear this: that angry punishing God is not the God I know. And it is not the God revealed to us in the person of Jesus Christ. This Jesus who ate with sinners and tax collectors and pissed of the religious authorities (because he was so clearly free from their control) and who loved and healed and forgave people indiscriminately – well this Jesus was God’s way of telling us who God is.
       So when I reject my identity as beloved child of God and turn to my own plans of self-satisfaction, or I despair that I haven’t managed to be a good enough person, I again see our divine Parent running toward me uninterested in what I’ve done or not done, who covers me in divine love and I melt into something new like having again been moved from death to life and I reconcile aspects of myself and I reconcile to others around me.
      But I’m human, so inevitably some anxiety or resentment sets me off and I start the whole cycle over again. And that’s ok. Because we have endless opportunities to lift our heads and see how the Divine Parent is running toward us – calling us home. Reminding us of God’s love for us and freeing us to be agents of reconciliation…

God Is for Us — Richard Rohr (full article: https://cac.org/daily-meditations/god-is-for-us-2016-09-30/)

Love is just like prayer; it is not so much an action that we do, but a dialogue that already flows through us. We don’t decide to “be loving”; rather, to love is to allow our deepest and truest nature to show itself. The “Father” doesn’t decide to love the “Son.” Fatherhood is the flow from Father to Son, one hundred percent. The Son does not choose now and then to release some love to the Father, or to the Spirit. Love is the full modus operandi between all three of them! (Remember these classic names are just placeholders. You can replace them with any form of endearment that works for you, but make sure something works!)
     … Love is not something you do; love is Someone you are. It is your True Self … Love is where you came from and love is where you’re going. It’s not something you can attain. … It is the living presence of God within you, often called the Holy Spirit, or what some theologians name uncreated grace.
    You can’t manufacture this by any right conduct. You can’t make God love you one ounce more than God already loves you right now.
     You cannot make God love you any less, either—not an ounce less. You could do the most terrible thing and God wouldn’t love you any less. (You would probably love yourself much less, however.)
     You cannot change the Divine mind about you! The flow is constant and total toward your life. God is for you!
      You can’t diminish God’s love for you. What you can do, however, is learn how to believe it, receive it, trust it, allow it, and celebrate it, accepting Trinity’s whirling invitation to join in the cosmic dance.
      Catherine LaCugna [writes] “The very nature of God, therefore, is to seek out the deepest possible communion and friendship with every last creature on this earth.”
      That’s God’s job description. That’s what it’s all about. The only things that can keep you out of this divine dance are fear, doubt, or self-hatred. What would happen in your life—right now—if you accepted being fully accepted?

  • It would be a very safe universe.
  • You would have nothing to be afraid of.

God is for you.

God is leaping toward you!

God is on your side, honestly more than you are on your own.

Events with JCC and around town: MAY 25-30 (Memorial Day Weekend)

Events with JCC and around town: fitness, C3: Cocktails & Conversations, State of Loon program & Birding in Bog field trip (Tin Mountain), Food Truck Festival, Craft Fair at Schouler Park, Heather Pierson Duo and Josh & Darin Variety Hour (Mountain Top Music), Wild Quack duck race & music, interfaith group (outside), Sunday worship with Memorial Day Observance plus solo by Judy Botsford, bluegrass music with Dellavalla family with piano by Maisie Brown, music around town and more!

WED, May 25

  • Community Resource: LIBRARIES
  • Community Events: MUSIC AROUND TOWN
    • Wildcat Tavern: Simon Crawford • 6-9pm

THURS, May 26

  • WAY STATION Bd of Dir Mtg
    9am • Zoom
    Update on projects. Closed meeting.
  • Community Events: MUSIC AROUND TOWN
    • Wildcat Tavern: Rafe Matregrano • 6-9pm
  • Community Service: WAY STATION
    Staff and volunteers of JCC participate. Operating in church basement this week: Nativity Lutheran.
    2-5 • Food collection & distribution
    10-6 • Open shift for drop-ins and apts.
  • AA
    6pm? • JCC Parish House
  • Community Event: STATE of the LOON with Tin Mountain
    7pm • Zoom link pending.
    Join Harry Vogel, Loon Preservation Committee, as he talks about this unique symbol of New Hampshire’s wild lakes and its special place in the hearts of New Hampshire residents. More info: https://www.tinmountain.org/event/state-of-the-loon-the-natural-history-challenges-and-successes-of-loons-in-nh-2/
  • Community Events: MUSIC AROUND TOWN
    • Wildcat Tavern: Rafe Matregrano • 6-9pm

FRI, May 27

  • FITNESS CLASS with Laurie McAleer
    9:30am • JCC Parish House.
  • Community Resource: LIBRARIES
    • 2pm-5pm • Jackson Library
      Contact the library for additional help: 603.383.9731 or by email: staff@jacksonlibrary.org.
  • C3: COCKTAILS & CHRISTIAN CONVERSATIONS
    5pm • Zoom link and password required
    Bring your adult beverage and your curiosity for a conversation about our sacred text
  • Community Event: MAJESTIC CAFE CONCERT – Heather Pierson Duo
    7pm • Majestic Theater, Conway Village
    Info and tickets:https://mountaintop.ludus.com/index.php
  • Community Events: MUSIC AROUND TOWN
    • Wildcat Tavern: Al Shafner  & CATWOLF• 6-9pm
    • Shannon Door: Riley Parkhurst • 6-9pm
    • Red Parka Pub: Now Is Now • 8-11pm

SAT, May 28

  • Community Event: BIRDING in the BOG w/ Tin Mountain
    7-10am • Location communicated upon registration
    Join birders of all levels on this weekly bird walk through the bog and view the rich diversity of bird life that makes it way north to rest or nest. Bring binoculars (or borrow ours), rubber boots, and a snack. Program fee of $15/person or $25/household for non-members; members are free. Click here to register online.
  • Community Event: MEMORIAL WEEKEND CRAFT FAIR
    10am – 5pm • Schouler Park, North Conway
  • Community Event: FOOD TRUCK FESTIVAL
    Noon-6pm • North Conway Community Center
    Kids entertainment, music, and food trucks.
  • Community Resource: LIBRARIES
  • Community Event: JOSH & DARIN VARIETY HOUR benefit for Jen’s Friends (Mountain Top Music program)
    7:30pm • Majestic Theater
    Live and in person! Original sketches, parody songs and one-liners, plus tribute sketches, special guest interviews, and music from local performers – all in the beautifully renovated Majestic Theater! All proceeds from ticket sales go to Jen’s Friends Cancer Foundation. Produced by Josh and Darin; sponsored by Mountain Top Music and others. Admission to limited to those over 18 or accompanied by parent / guardian.  Doors and Majestic Cafe concessions open at 6:30 pm, the show at 7:30 pm. Livestream available. More info and tickets (donations): https://mountaintop.ludus.com/index.php
  • MUSIC AROUND TOWN
    • Shannon Door: Willow Carter • 7-10pm
    • Wildcat Tavern: Jonathan Sarty • 6-9pm
    • Red Parka Pub: Lazy River Riders • 8-11pm

SUN, May 29

  • INTERFAITH GATHERING
    8am • Pavilion behind Whitney Community Center (and zoom)
    • in-person & zoom
    • Gather for poetry, conversation and prayer
    • Zoom link and password required
  • WORSHIP with MEMORIAL DAY OBSERVANCE
    10:30am • JCC (in-person & zoom)
    • Zoom link and password required
    • Solo: Judy Botsford
    • Special bluegrass music: Dellavalla Family
    • Guest Pianist: Maisie Brown
    • Message: Rev Gail Doktor
  • Community Event: WILD QUACK DUCK RACE & MUSIC FESTIVAL
    8am • Jackson Village
    Info: https://jacksonnh.com/event/wildquack-duck-race-music-festival-2/
    Admission: FREE! 
    • The day’s events start at 8 AM and the first Duck Race goes off at 1:45 PM.
    • Food, Duck Races, Kids Activities, Traveling Train Rides, an Incredible Silent Auction
    • Live Music from Local Favorites Al Shafner and Dennis & Davey
    • Local Artisan’s wares on display and for purchase
    • Kid’s games and activities
    • To receive your brochure of individual events and times… call the office at (603) 383-9356/(978) 580-0905 or see a PDF brochure here.  You can request a mailed brochure by emailing info@jacksonnh.com.
    • Local and visiting food vendors offer fabulous barbeque foods, fair foods, kettle corn, ice cream, lobster sandwiches as well as other select items all affordably priced.  Watch the “ever-growing” parade starting from the Covered Bridge at 1:30 PM, have your picture taken with “Wildquack” the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce Duck, visit local businesses and really enjoy this “ole” fashioned “Day in the Park”.
    • Purchase duck tickets
  • Community Event: MEMORIAL WEEKEND CRAFT FAIR
    10am – 5pm • Schouler Park, North Conway
  • MUSIC AROUND TOWN
    • Shannon Door: Mike & Becca • 6-9pm
    • Red Parka Pub: Jeremy Holden  • 4-7pm

MON, May 30 – Memorial Day

This weekend at JCC: Sunday, May 1st

8am interfaith gathering

We will **not meet** this week (since Rev Gail is on vacation). Note: Next Sunday, we will begin to meet outside at the Pavilion behind the Whitney Community Center: Sunday, May 8 @ 8am. We will continue to offer a hybrid option with a zoom link made available by contacting the church.

10:30am Worship with Communion

• Led by the deacons
• Featuring the music of pianist Maisie Brown.
• Scripture: Road to Emmaus

This week we will gather in-person and also offer live-streaming (non-interactive option) over Facebook and posted to the this website starting Sunday, May 1st @ 10:15am, since Rev Gail & Chris Doktor are on vacation (and they currently constitute JCC’s zoom tech team). This is a communion Sunday, so if you’re participating at home, please prepare your beverages and food to join us at the time of communion during the service.

PEACE CAIRN: Vigil for Ukraine

PEACE CAIRN (and vigil) for the Ukraine: Sun, Mar 13 @ 1pm in Schouler Park.

Plus: 2 local Fryeburg Academy students set up fundraising campaign and site with additional resources. Details in email. Also: Donate, pray, stay informed, and advocate! Many ways to get involved.

Sunday, March 13th
1:00 PM
Schouler Park North Conway, NH
The Peace Cairn

“Let there be peace on earth…”
 
       In Ireland there is a tradition known as the “Peace Cairn”.  Stones, in this view, symbolize ancient weapons and the Peace Cairn is a heaping pile of stones laid down to stop war.  Each stone is balanced against other stones that represents the balance necessary for peace to exist.  Officially, the Peace Cairn is designated as ‘laying down primitive weapons – – turning them into building blocks for a better future.”
 
       On Sunday, March 13th at 1:00 p.m. people are asked to bring stones to Schouler Park in North Conway to build a Peace Cairn.  You may write a one-word, or a few-words of prayer, (if you choose), to help build a balanced heap of stones.  It is part of the Prayer Vigil the “Clergy of the Eastern Slope” are organizing to show solidarity with the people of Ukraine.  (Please feel free to wear clothing or scarfs of yellow and blue if you desire) … There is no dress code, we are just looking for kind souls to offer prayers for peace.
 
       Whatever your prayers are for those who live in fear, for refugees who wander, for families fractured and frayed, for the innocent to survive, for diplomats to build trust, for peacemakers on all sides, come to Schouler Park, add your prayers to ours, and help build the Peace Cairn.Vigil will include Prayer, Music, and the building of a Peace Cairn


United Church of Christ/UCC with its GLOBAL PARTNERS

The United Church of Christ is issuing an appeal for the people of Ukraine and will be working with global partners to assist vulnerable communities within that country. (more info: https://www.ucc.org/ucc-issues-appeal-for-ukraine-calls-on-u-s-to-provide-humanitarian-aid/)

What you can do through the UCC and its partners:

  • DONATE: Donate to the UCC Ukraine relief effort here.
  • READ & LEARN: Access daily updates from Ukraine. Global Ministries will be posting daily updates provided by the Reformed Church of Hungary here.
  • PRAY: Access the UCC officers’ call to prayer here.
  • ADVOCATE:  Action alert directed to current administration for direct forms of assistance in this crisis: https://p2a.co/OKUfu7z

The appeal joins an earlier call to prayer issued by the UCC’s executive officers and an invitation from Global Ministries to pray with the worldwide interfaith community. The national ministries are also encouraging people to call on the Biden administration to offer Ukrainians more humanitarian assistance, both in the U.S. and abroad.

  • Interfaith call to prayer issued by the UCC’s executive officers and an invitation from Global Ministries to pray with the worldwide interfaith community.
  • The UCC, through Global H.O.P.E. and Global Ministries, will be collaborating with ACT Alliance and the Reformed Church of Hungary (RCH) to bring aid to Ukraine. RCH is responding to the situation in the war-torn country through its agency, Hungarian Reformed Church Aid. That group has been offering humanitarian assistance since Russian troops first attacked Ukraine on Feb. 24. It’s working with elderly and other vulnerable communities inside the country who have not been able to leave, including immigrants and migrant populations who are experiencing difficulties crossing into other European countries. HRCA is also working with refugees who are leaving the country. 
  • Gifts to the UCC Ukraine Emergency Appeal will provide shelter, food and other care to war refugees and internally displaced people. It also will help refugees and asylum seekers from African, Middle Eastern and other countries who had sought refuge in Ukraine and now are twice displaced, as well as other citizens of more than 125 countries living in Ukraine. Donate here.
  • The UCC’s advocacy office in Washington, D.C., is encouraging people through this action alert to: providing significant humanitarian assistance, both in terms of financial support and operational personnel, rebuild a robust, well-resourced refugee program that can effectively process refugees from a variety of regions across the globe, including Ukraine, designate Ukraine for Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) or Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to protect Ukrainians already in the U.S., grant Special Student Relief (SSR) to allow eligible students from Ukraine to remain in the U.S.

SOME PATHS to HELP

NEW: Fryeburg Academy students set up website to make donations toward resources for Ukraine. Anna Bondar, 17, a junior at the school, and Daryna Serediuk, 18, a senior are both from western Ukraine. One thing they did was to create online “Help Ukraine Now” posters with built-in QR codes that direct people to a website where people can donate to causes like the Armed Forces of Ukraine as well as humanitarian causes or buy Ukrainian Army themed merchandise. The link is linktr.ee/help_ukraine_global.

Full article in Conway Daily Sun: https://www.conwaydailysun.com/news/local/fryeburg-academy-students-from-ukraine-holding-fundraisers/article_62101efc-9e5e-11ec-8837-7b4d619c6fb6.html

Recommended by other congregation friends and members. Note: These are suggestions about how you might contribute to the relief effort, should this be something you feel you’d like to do. We are not prioritizing any one agency or group. Here are several organizations with excellent reputations for supporting refugees or assisting with on-the-ground relief work:

PRAYER CONCERN & PERSONAL SITUATIONS

If people have prayer concerns or specific situations to bring to our community’s attention, we will continue to share such information. We will trust that all such recommendations are authentic.

Caution: We remind donors that such personal fundraising initiatives are not monitored or supervised, so it is best if you have a direct connection (or at least know and trust the person making the request) if you are moved to support these personalized campaigns. Sadly, even in the midst of crisis, people will also try to use this as a chance to scam others for money.

Kimberli Jo Lewis’ Family: Additionally, this is about a friend and neighbor of a member of our congregation. Sue Carrigan brought to our attention to a specific Ukrainian family’s plight and the Go Fund Me page set up to assist them (they are family to a neighbor in NH): https://gofund.me/8b517a9f.

Updates:

  • “Update is the family is in a shelter near me in Prague, my apartment is too small for 2 adults and 2 children. We supply most to them but the 7 year old is traumatize with entire situation , so is Grandma who is same age as many of our friends. All had to flee their home, each had one bag.  It is nothing we can think about other than our for 100 years many of our families did the same.  We appreciate the support as there is a long way ahead of them.”
  • I spent 2 hours yesterday at the embassy, we are doing everything we can.  Thank you, everything helps.  We have some people in RI reaching out to the state department.”
  • … I just traveled to to pick up Lena’s Mom, Sister and 2 children 7 and 19 months.  They are now with me, and we are trying to get them to US and … despite what is on TV, they can not get to the US because the 19 month baby has no visa. I hate to ask you this but in your friend group if you know anyone who would give 25 USD it will help us.  Personally, it has costed me until now 5000, to get them this far, and to start a new life once we get them in is horrible.  If you in your church group know anyone 10 dollars helps I would appreciate it. I am so tired and so stressed, I remember when you did fundraiser after the accident , I get it now … I have now done 1 intensive week to get them out, I attach the story, anyone who can give 10 dollars we would appreciate, it is not to reimburse me, it is for the next step once we get through the US BS,
    Please read the story of my best friend, a devoted Catholic who gave his live for 1 week to save my family.  Please say him in your prayers, he got them to me without one ounce of selfishness the story I need to tell you in person.  I called him for advice and he said no advice “action.”

Sun, Mar 6: OPEN PRAYER

Ask, and it will be given to you;
seek, and you will find;
knock, and it will be opened to you.
— Matthew 7:7

As we open ourselves to the presence of God, let each Sunday be an opportunity to experiment with different forms of prayer. What follows is prayer based on the practices of Julian of Norwich, a woman of faith who documented her visions and reflections. Hers were the first words written by a woman and published in the English language.

         According to writer Grace Ji-Sun Kim, “Julian of Norwich (1343–1416) suffered severe body pain and it was during her illness that she received visions that she wrote about in Revelations of Divine Love. She believed that if she welcomed her body’s sensations with openness, then she could open herself to the presence of God in a way that is less mediated by the mind.”

         Kim continues, “Julian wrote, “The fruit and the purpose of prayer is to be oned with and like God in all things.” She said that we should take a few minutes to let our heart and mind’s attention sink deep into our body, to remember our being’s inherent oneness. She used simple body postures to pray to God.”

         During this season of journey, doorways to heaven abound. We carry them within ourselves. When you attune yourself, and ask, what is opened to you? May the prayer below help you achieve openness and vulnerability in the presence of Holy Love. — Rev Gail 

         ————————————————————————————

BODY PRAYER

Below is a prayer practice created and used by the Order of Julian for hundreds of years. It can be used anywhere and is accessible to people in almost any physical state of health:

  • AWAIT (hands at waist, cupped up to receive):
    Await God’s presence, not as you expect, hope, or imagine, but just as it is in this moment.
  • ALLOW (reach up, hands open):
    Allow a sense of God’s presence (or not) to come and be what it is, without meeting your expectations.
  • ACCEPT (hands at heart, cupped towards body):
    Accept as a gift whatever comes or does not come. Accept that you are not in charge. Accept the infinity of God’s presence, present whether or not you are aware.
  • ATTEND (hands outstretched, ready to be responsive):
    Attend to what you are called to, actions that God invites you to from this stance of openness.

I doubled-down when praying … thinking to myself that if I prayed enough I could change the ways of nature, even change the ways of God. But that is not how prayer works in our lives… I began to find confidence in the notion that prayer, though it may not be … directly influencing God, would continue to positively change the nature of myself. … We must remind ourselves that when we pray … we do so not because we ask something of God. But rather, we pray to put ourselves … into God’s hands, free at God’s disposition, vulnerable, listening to the Divine’s voice which speaks to our most honest self.… Body prayer is our entire being praying, which is what God requires of us. — Grace Ji-Sun Kim

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